A visual explanation of why residential heating with wood and fossil fuels belongs to the past

Hard to think that such a beautiful, day with such a nice and clean air, has to end up into such a disastrous night…


Particulate matter PM2,5 was around 120 μg/m3 in Thiseio and above 200 μg/m3 in Chalandri at midnight yesterday. These are very dangerous levels of Air Pollution that we should never have to see in a capital of a European country in 2020.


It is easy to understand where this PM2,5 comes from by looking at the last two pictures of the AQ (Air Quality) Monitor sitting on our desk, which shows the air quality inside the house (left) and on the balcony outside the house (right):


– the first picture to the left shows the levels of Air Pollution during a very clean day followed by a very clean night just a few days ago, something that should be the goal for every day of the year. PM2,5 are lower than 10 μg/m3 during the whole day (visually shown by the green bars).


– the second picture to the right shows the 24h progress of the Air Quality from yesterday at 16:00 until today at 15:00. PM2,5 is lower than 10 μg/m3 at 16:00 (green bar), then it reaches 120 μg/m3 at night (red bars) and falls again the next day to levels below 10 μg/m3 (the last green bar).

Move slider left/right to see the two pictures


It is clear that the Particulate Matter PM2,5 climbs sharply when the wood stoves/fireplaces and oil burners start in the late afternoon. This is something that happens daily in winter. Hence we can visually understand that the bulk of the Air Pollution in our cities in winter does not come from traffic, but from residential heating.


It follows that the discussion of electrifying vehicles on our streets is not really going to make a big change if it is not paired by a thorough cleaning up of the way we heat our homes.


Wood burning is the first that has to be banned from our cities. Oil burners must be banned immediately after, and on the longer terms also gas burners. All these must be replaced by heating systems that use renewable energy, such as heat pumps, solar collectors for heating, etc.

Published by cleanairingreece

CleanAir in Greece is an independent site meant to inform the public about the day to day Air Quality in Greece, with advice on how to protect ourselves from the dangers of Air Pollution

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